phosphorylation affects its stability and governs its interactions with co-chaperones and clients. Thereby modulating the cell’s ability to cope with environmental stress. Candida albicans, one of the leading human fungal pathogens, causes ~750,000 life-threatening invasive infections worldwide with unacceptably high mortality rates. Yet, it remains unknown if and how Hsp90 phosphorylation affects C. albicans virulence traits. Here, we show that phosphorylation of Hsp90 is critical for expression of virulence traits. We combined proteomics, molecular evolution analyses and structural modeling with molecular biology to characterize the role of Hsp90 phosphorylation in this non-model pathogen. We demonstrated that phosphorylation negatively affects key virulence traits, such as the thermal stress response, morphogenesis, and drug susceptibility. Our results provide the first record of a specific Hsp90 phosphorylation site acting as modulator of fungal virulence. Post-translational modifications of Hsp90 could prove valuable in future exploitations as antifungal drug targets.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Ewan Basterfield and Chris Apark for technical support, Prof Alistair J. P. Brown for comments on the manuscript, and Profs Leah E. Cowen, Julia R. K?hler, J?rgen Wendland, and Malcolm Whiteway for their generous plasmid gifts.
© Copyright © 2021 Alaalm, Crunden, Butcher, Obst, Whealy, Williamson, O’Brien, Schaffitzel, Ramage, Spencer and Diezmann.
- fungal virulence
- drug response
- Candida albicans